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Color Matching 101: Using Clyde's Leather Recoloring Balm
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Color Matching 101: Using Clyde's Leather Recoloring Balm

Leather goods like bags, shoes, belts, and furniture develop a patina over time that can dull the original rich color and aesthetic. Leather recoloring offers a solution for restoring these items to their former vibrancy.

By applying specially formulated balms, you can rehydrate the leather while adding back subtle color. However, finding just the right shade to match the original can prove challenging. With so many potential color variations, it takes patience, precision, and an artistic eye to get a natural, flawless result.

The reward for mastering leather recoloring is well worth the effort. Rather than discarding cherished leather items that fade or become stained, you can renew them at a fraction of the cost of replacement.

Recoloring also allows you to refresh the look of your leather by trying out new, modern hues. As you'll learn, with the right know-how and some helpful guidance, you can successfully tackle leather recoloring projects.

This guide covers tips for identifying the original color, factors that impact color matching, and techniques to blend balms for a custom color. Follow along as we unlock the secrets to mastering this artful process.

Understanding Leather Recoloring Balms

Leather recoloring balms are specially formulated products used to restore and rejuvenate the color of aged, dried out, or discolored leather goods.

These balms work by depositing new pigment into the surface of the leather through gentle absorption.

As the balm is massaged into the leather, the opaque pigments and conditioning agents soak into the leather fibers and pores to revive the color from within.

Recoloring balms offer many benefits compared to other methods of altering leather color like surface paints or dyes. Balms don't just coat the surface, they penetrate deeper to achieve a more natural, uniform color change. The results last longer since the color is absorbed into the leather itself.

Balms are also easier to apply evenly without leaving blotches or streaks. They won't crack or peel like surface paints. Most importantly, balms condition the leather as they recolor it, keeping the material soft and supple.

Quality leather recoloring balms like those from Clyde's Leather Company are available in a wide selection of color shades.

With a spectrum of 21 options ranging from blacks to browns, tans, reds, and more, it's easier to find a close match to the original or desired color of a leather item. Choosing the right shade is key for an inconspicuous, seamless recoloring result.

Factors to Consider When Matching Leather Recoloring Balms

When trying to find the perfect color match for leather recoloring balms, there are several key factors to take into account:

Leather Type

The type of leather is perhaps the most important consideration when selecting a recoloring balm. Leather comes in many forms including full grain, top grain, genuine, split grain, suede, and more. Each leather type absorbs and reflects color differently. For example, smoother leathers like full grain tend to absorb less pigment, while suede is more porous and will soak up more color. Test your balm on a small hidden area first to ensure compatibility with the leather.

Original Color

It's critical to know the original color of the leather you are trying to match. Is it a deep brown, light tan, or rich burgundy? Identifying the existing color will make selecting the right recoloring balm much easier. When possible, find a brand new swatch of the original leather to use as a color reference when testing shades.


Before applying a recoloring balm to the entire surface, do a test patch on a small, inconspicuous area. Allow the balm to dry completely, then inspect under natural light. This will give you a good sense of the finished color and whether the balm is an appropriate match. Test 2-3 similar shades to determine the closest match.

Lighting Conditions

The ambient lighting in a room can affect how leather color is perceived. Natural daylight often provides the truest color representation. When selecting and testing shades, move the leather to different lighting scenarios to see how the color changes. A shade that appears accurate indoors may look very different in sunlight. Evaluating the leather color under multiple lighting conditions will help achieve the closest match.

Multiple Coats

When using leather recoloring balms, resist the urge to apply one thick, heavy coat. Instead, utilize multiple thin, even coats for the most natural-looking results. Allow each light coat to fully dry before applying the next. Slowly building up the color through several sheer layers avoids uneven patches and an artificial appearance. The gradual process allows for great precision in achieving an even tone across the entire surface of the leather.

Practical Tips for Finding the Perfect Match

When trying to find the ideal color match for your leather recoloring project, there are several practical tips to keep in mind:

Look for Resources Online

The internet is a great place to get guidance on mixing colors and finding the right shade. Brand websites often have color charts or even offer online consulting. There are also forums and videos where leatherworkers share their experiences matching colors.

Consult the Professionals

Don't hesitate to reach out to leather good manufacturers or professional leatherworkers for advice. Many have years of hands-on experience matching leathers and will happily offer their expertise. They can guide you on selecting the right base color and suggest mixes to achieve your ideal shade.

Mix and Match

Blending recoloring balms is a great way to create your own custom color. Having primary colors like red, blue, and yellow allows you to mix a wide spectrum. Adding blacks and whites will also darken or lighten a color. Experiment on test pieces to get the proportions just right.

Patience is Key

When applying the recoloring balm, take your time and apply thin, even layers. The final result develops over multiple coats. Don't expect an exact match immediately. Allow sufficient drying time between applications. Matching leathers relies as much on skill as the quality of the balms.

With the right preparation and a methodical approach, you can master the art of leather recoloring. Do your research, seek advice when needed, and don't be afraid to get creative with blending balms until you achieve the perfect color match.


Recoloring leather can seem daunting at first, but with careful testing, patience, and the right tools, you can successfully renew your leather goods. The key is taking the time to find just the right color match. With an understanding of how leather recoloring balms work, consideration for the original color, leather type, and testing, you can achieve a natural, flawless finish.

Be sure to properly prep your leather first by cleaning it thoroughly before applying the recoloring balm. Test out balms on small hidden areas until you find the perfect match. Apply thin, even coats and allow plenty of drying time between applications. Having good lighting is crucial for assessing the color accurately. Don't be afraid to mix colors or add white/black to achieve the right hue.

The process takes precision, but the end result will restore your leather goods to like-new condition. Take your time, have patience, and enjoy the satisfaction of DIY leather recoloring. We'd love to hear your experiences and any tips you've discovered along the way for finding that elusive perfect color match. Let us know how we can help you renew your favorite leather items with confidence.

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